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Israeli forces blow up home of slain Palestinian in Ramallah-area village

Aug. 17, 2017 11:51 A.M. (Updated: Aug. 18, 2017 4:19 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an ) -- In a raid Thursday morning on the Ramallah-area village of Deir Abu Mashaal in the central occupied West Bank, Israeli forces blew up the home of slain Palestinian Adel Hassan Ahmad Ankoush, who was killed by Israeli forces in June along with two other Palestinians after the three carried out a deadly shooting and stabbing attack in occupied East Jerusalem that left an Israeli border police officer dead.

Locals told Ma’an that the Israeli army raided Ankoush’s family home and set up explosives around the house, as other forces surrounded Deir Abu Mashaal and deployed across all entrances to the village, while drones hovered overhead.

According to locals, a fire erupted after the army set off the explosives, after which time Palestinian Civil Defense firefighters arrived on the scene to put out the fire.

Following the home demolition, clashes erupted in the village between Palestinian youth and Israeli forces.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that “overnight, security forces demolished the residence of one of the terrorists who committed a fatal shooting attack at the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem on June 16, killing one Israeli border police officer.”

Ankoush’s home was sealed by Israeli forces last week, while the homes of Baraa Ibrahim Saleh, 18, and Osama Ahmad Atta, 19, who allegedly committed the attack along with Ankoush, were demolished.

A statement released by Suliman al-Wairi, director of the Abdullah Al-Hourani Center for Studies in the West Bank, said at the time that Ankoush's home was only closed and sealed by Israeli forces and not demolished since their home is located in an overcrowded area of the village, and was too close to other houses to be demolished.

According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, a total of 22 people, the three mens’ family members, have been left homeless by the punitive demolitions in spite of not having been charged with any wrongdoing.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fast-tracked punitive home demolitions in an effort to “deter” attacks carried out by Palestinian individuals since an increase in violence erupted across the occupied Palestinian territory in late 2015.

The demolitions were carried out despite past recommendations by an Israeli military committee that the practice did not deter attacks. However, Israeli rights group B’Tselem has pointed out that even if the policy was proven to deter Palestinian attacks on Israelis, the policy would remain “unlawful,” as it “constitutes deliberate harm to innocents.”

Al-Wairi said that the number of houses that have been demolished under Israel's punitive demolition policy has risen to 36 over the past two years. Four other houses were evacuated and destroyed after Israeli forces poured concrete into the house, while one of these houses was welded shut by the Israeli army after they were unable to demolish it, according to al-Wairi.

Al-Wairi noted the double standard of Israel's enforcement of the controversial policy when it comes to Palestinian and Israeli assailants, noting the case of the Abu Khdeir family who had petitioned Israel's Supreme Court to demolish the homes of three Israelis convicted of brutally killing 16-year-old Muhammad Abu Khdeir in 2014.

He also pointed out that there was no punitive measures carried out against the Israeli settlers who lit the Dawabsha family home on fire in 2015, burning an 18-month old infant and his two parents to death. Ahmad Dawabsha, then four-years-old, was left as the sole survivor of the attack. The Israeli government has also refused to provide compensation to the devastated family.

B’Tselem has condemned the practice of punitive home demolitions as "court-sanctioned revenge" carried out on family members who have not committed crimes, amounting to collective punishment.

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